Ten Minutes With Mike Mangini
Mike Mangini has worked with artists such as David Byrne, Run DMC, the Beastie Boys, and others. He worked with Joss Stone and won a Grammy for the Baha Men hit "Who Let the Dogs Out?"
Michael Mangini has worked with artists such as David Byrne, Run DMC, the Beastie Boys, and others. He worked with Joss Stone and won a Grammy for the Baha Men hit "Who Let the Dogs Out?"
How did you became a producer?
My band, China Blue, ended up getting signed to a major record company in the 1980s. The record company hired a producer to work on our record and I saw his job and thought, “Wow, what an amazing job.”
What was so “wow” about it?
You get to be a part of other people's musical identities for a few months, and then you move on and you do something else. When I was an artist I felt that the downside was that you can only have one identity.
How did you end up, well, letting the dogs out?
A very good friend of mine Steve Greenberg, who I made a ton of records with over my career, played me a goofy version of “Who Let the Dogs Out?”
So you were not a fan at first?
No. The production of the song was horrible, the whole thing was horrible, I couldn't make heads or tails of what Steve was imagining this song would turn into. He said, “I went on a cruise and I heard this song and it’s this Trinidadian song. I think it can be a huge hit.” You know those songs like “Whoomp! There It Is,” those big everybody-in-the-stadium-chants-along-with-it kind of songs? So we put one of those cool Miami beats to it and get this big chant chorus going.
What happened then?
We went down to the Bahamas. We recorded the song. Steve was like, “This is going to be a huge hit. It’s going to be massive.” I said, “I don't think so.” They put the album out and it sold six million copies.
How did you react the first time you heard Joss Stone?
I was shocked. Steve had seen a videotape of her singing and had paid for her and her parents to come from Devon, England, to New York. I show up in his office and there’s this very tall, very young girl. If you closed your eyes when she sang, you would have thought it was Aretha Franklin. It was the most amazing soul voice that I had heard, and here it was coming out of a 14-year-old white girl.
What projects are you working on now?
I just finished an album for Jillette Johnson who’s an amazing piano player and songwriter who I discovered with a friend of mine. She’s one of the best songwriters I’ve ever heard. I’m also working on the new Five for Fighting record.
You’ve teamed up with another Fairfield music artist, Melissa Mulligan, to offer seminars on songwriting. Tell me about that.
We’re going to run a series of workshops here in Fairfield. I feel like I got really lucky that I ended up having a career. I know a lot of people at least as talented as I am, maybe more talented than I am, that the door never opened for them. Not everybody is going to get a record deal, not everybody should even be a recording artists, but I think everybody should have the opportunity to try, and see where their dream takes them.